Fulfilling a God-Given Dream

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Feb. 15, 2018
  • 1 Comment

Fulfilling a God Given Dream Lari and Rachael, a mother-daughter duo from Texas, have been faithful volunteers with our Joni and Friends Texas office since 2015. When Lari saw that Joni and Friends had a Family Retreat in Texas, she knew God wanted their family to serve in this way together during Rachael’s high school summer vacations. After their first summer serving as STMs (short-term missionaries), they were hooked. God was placing disability ministry on their hearts, but they never imagined that this call would take them to the other side of the world.

But when Rachael discovered that Family Retreat takes place around the world in countries like China, she felt certain God wanted her to use her experience with people affected by disability and be the presence of Jesus in China. And from day one, Lari knew that God was also calling her to serve alongside her daughter. Rachael was beginning to see her dream become a reality.

It wasn’t long before they boarded a plane to China. They were prepared for the unexpected but were curious to see what Family Retreat would be like in another country. What they quickly found out was that the International Family Retreat in China felt just like coming home. Throughout the week Rachel and Lari helped encourage, educate, and support the families and local church. When Rachael saw that God was using her passion for people affected by disability and love for Chinese people to make an impact for his Kingdom, she said “it was the most beautiful display of God’s faithfulness to me I had ever known.”

Towards the end of the week, they met a young man with cerebral palsy who was attending Family Retreat for the first time. He opened up and told Lari that he believes that for people with a disability “loneliness is a universal language.” In that moment, Lari understood his suffering and her view of disability forever changed. Lari and Rachael along with the local church got to share with this young man how the Lord is his Shepard and is with him “even in the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4). How good is our God to send people like Lari and Rachael to bring the Gospel of hope and life to His hurting children?

Lari and Rachael returned to the US, with a wider perspective on disability and view of Christ that they will share at Camp Allen Family Retreat this year. Lari said that she could not have been prouder watching Rachael fulfill her God-given dream in China. How will you fulfill your God-given dream?

We encourage you to learn more about serving on an International Family Retreat this year and share the love of God with families affected by disability. Visit our International Family Retreat page for more information.

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1 Comment

Super inspiring article. So thankful for all God is doing through Joni and Friends around the world.
  • Feb. 15, 2018
  • 10:24 a.m.
  • Erica